Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Keeping Place Value in Its Place

Place value can be a mystifying concept to young children.

Place value can be a mystifying concept for adults
trying to teach  young children.

I like to use various methods to help my kids gain understanding.

I found this old place value chalkboard,
that gives a great visual of the place value columns.

We write the numbers with the digits in the correct column.

When comparing numbers, it is easy to see which number is the least
and which is the greatest.

It also comes in handy for learning to carry,
or regroup, as some curriculums call it.

Plus, it is just fun to write with chalk,
isn't it?

To utilize a place value chart,
you can make paper charts,
they're easy to find on the internet.

You could also make your own gridlines
 on a chalkboard or a dry erase board.

Anybody else have any great ideas for teaching place value?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crayons, crayons, everywhere!

The home we live in  does not have a school room,
just a large open L-shaped room that serves as living room,
dining room, sewing room, library, school room
 and occasionally a bedroom.

When you add my sewing cabinet
and all the STUFF you need to homeschool
the room can get crowded and unattractive.

My first passion was to organize the supplies we use every day.

We tried school boxes for each kid,
but they never held all the supplies they each needed.

Each kid had their own crayons.
Then, we had a huge box of community crayons.
We had crayons with the coloring books.

It seemed easier to keep most items in a community stash.

I had my heart set on an old, wooden portion of
a library card catalogue,
until I saw the prices.

I The Lord found something that worked even better.

I say the Lord because when I found this piece of furniture,
it was an answer to prayer.
Everytime I look at this piece, I am thankful for His provision.

Each drawer holds only one type of item.

One drawer holds all my glues.
Another holds all the tapes.
Other items assigned a drawer are
scissors, edging scissors, paints, rubber stamps,
skinny markers, fat markers, coloring crayons, flashcards,
pens and pencils and dry erase markers.

When we need colored pencils,
we just put that drawer on the table.

The dresser gets a lot of wear and tear,
but since shabby chic is in style,
I don't mind the paint wearing off the edges.
In 11 years, when I am done homeschooling,
I am pretty sure I can come up with a few other uses
for this amazing piece of furniture.

But for now,
the crayons aren't everywhere,
they're in one of the little black drawers.
And I have a great reminder from
Jehovah Jireh, My Provider,
who provided something more important
than a place to keep my crayons.
He provided salvation for my soul
through His Son, the Lord Jesus.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Unblocking Roadblocks

In Beka's second grade math curriculum,
she was learning measurement.

Along with memorizing the facts of measurement,
she was introduced to the standard 12 inch ruler
and a yardstick.

There were a few questions asking if  she should
use a ruler or a yardstick to measure an item.

She was confused,
then got a little frustrated.

Over the years I have learned,
when a kid is frustrated,
repeating the instructions LOUDER
or with more FRUSTRATION
doesn't help.

I won't tell you how many years it took to learn that,
it is a span that just can't be measured.

When there is a roadblock to learning,
we need to remove it, not pile on top of the roadblock
with our frustration or impatience.

Sometimes, I just put the worksheet aside
and work on something else for awhile.

Other times, I like to find a new way to approach the matter.

I like to SEE things,
Beka likes to TOUCH things,
so we created a new way to learn the concept.

A ruler and a yardstick were found,
a chart was made,
and fun ensued.

After less than five minutes of measuring with a ruler and a yardstick,
the concept was mastered.

Best of all,
we unblocked the roadblock,
and the joy of learning raced on.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quick File Folder Game

File folder games are a quick and easy way
to reinforce a concept.
If an answer key is provided for self-correcting,
the student  can use the games alone
for quiet learning time.

Yes, I said quiet.
It happens once in awhile.

Sometimes a simple workbook page
can easily become a file folder game.

Watch for concepts that your child may need extra work to master,
or concepts your other kids will need to reinforce, as well.

This day we were learning which consonants are doubled at the end of word.

This is a page from a very old Bob Jones Spelling Grade 2 workbook,
first used by my married daughter, Jana.

We copied the pages for years,
or had the kids write their answers on paper.
Beka is the only child who gets to write in the book.

 For some reason, writing in a workbook
 is a big, big deal to my homeschooled children,
whose mother is very stingy thrifty.

My alpha and omega,
my first and my last child,
enjoying the moment
of a book that is older than half my children.

To make the file folder game,
I started by making two copies of the worksheet,
one on regular paper, one on cardstock.
I always print on fast draft to save ink.

I cut out the images from the paper copy and glued them down.

I used self adhesive laminating sheets to cover the pictures. 
 It makes the game last longer and makes it washable.

Yea, you know it,
even file folder games might get kid snarf on them.
A little bit of peanut butter or jelly,
a dribble of milk,
or a booger.

OK, there might be momma goobies on them, too,
like coffee dribbles or a crumble of chocolate that dropped while
you were frantically shoving candy into your mouth before the kids caught you.
Sometimes, mommies don't like to share.
Sometimes, mommies don't have to share.
Chocolate, that is.

Back to the game that we are making washable -

The apples on the cardstock were laminated on both sides
and carefully cut out.

Little pieces of velcro were glued...

...onto the game board

...and onto the little apple pieces.

A simple game to reinforce a concept.

The smaller pieces are kept in a small resealable bag or an envelope
and stored inside the file folder.

The game is stored in my file folder box of games
 and will be played a few more times a year.

Games break the monotony of book/workbook learning,
and they can be used interactively between student and teacher,
or individually by the student.

Years ago, my husband and I noticed that almost ALL kids are excited to start school.
Somehow, that joy of learning is lost, and kids, in all learning environments,
begin to dislike school and learning.

After homeschooling 17 years,
I learned that sometimes Mommies lose their joy of teaching.

What do you do in your home to stimulate that joy of learning and teaching?
Even if you public or private school,
I know you are putting in a lot of teaching hours with homework.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.